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Watching A Disappearing Number In Theater

944 words - 4 pages

Choose one production that you have seen and which you particularly enjoyed and discuss the aspects which made it so successful.

A Disappearing Number

I went to see a Disappearing Number, in the Theater. The production was performed by Complicite and was directed by Simon McBurney. I really enjoyed this performance. I thought that the mixture of maths and romance as well as the structure of the performance by incorporating the past and the present together, was extremely successful.

The most successful aspect of the performance for me were the scene changes. I found that the rotation of the blackboard, center stage, where the actors were able to stoop beneath it in order to enter and exit the stage, was an effective touch to this non naturalistic performance. When this was first used, at the end of the first scene, when the characters Ruth and Al left the stage, I thought it didn't quite fit as at the beginning the style was leaning towards realism. But as the play progressed and the acting style became more and more non naturalistic, and this rotation of the black board technique was used more frequently it fitted in really well and became really effective.

Later on in the performance when Ramanujan and Hardy are introduced, again the scene changes were quick, swift and rapid. Screens were used to conceal the actors as they came on to the stage and then conceal the other actors as they left the stage. The two different scenes which the screens helped to alternate between were Ramanujan, a remarkable mathematician, living in one of the poorest areas of India and the prominent mathematician, G.H Hardy in Cambridge, two people who were in correspondence with each other. Since each of the scenes were short, the use of the screens increased the pace of the acting, therefore increasing the pace of the performance as a whole.

Another really effective aspect to the performance was the use of technology, including sound effects, projections, pod casts and voice overs. The scene which stood out most for me, concerning technology would be the scene where Al is trapped in the lecture theatre. Here, he begins to look through Ruth?s belongings of books, papers and passports. While he is doing this, actions too small to be seen from the audience, a live streaming is being projected up onto the whiteboard behind to show us, as the audience, what he is looking at. Al starts to read a page from a book which has been marked down and as he starts to read a voice over starts reading the same words, quietly at first and as that gradually builds up in volume, Al?s voice decreases in volume till its just the voice over reading out the words from...

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